IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for
one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with
another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal
station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent
respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes
which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That
to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their
just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of
Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to
alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation
on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall
seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will
dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and
transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are
more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves
by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of
abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to
reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to
throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Happy 236th birthday America. I pray we have 236 more.